Women, like men, can experience gender related hair loss. Female androgenetic alopecia or female pattern baldness affects one in every three women, especially after the menopause. As with men, this type of hair loss may not mean total baldness but could lead to thinning of the hair over the top and front of the head (in fact, a diffuse loss of hair over the crown is the most common effect in women).
This kind of baldness is very gradual. Typically, there is a loss of more than 100 hairs a day, consistently, over a period of time. Once the hair is lost, either new hair is not produced or is shorter than that lost. With every shedding, the hair becomes sparser and shorter and a kind of “peach fuzz" may be the result after a period of time.
Female pattern baldness can begin as early as puberty but if so there is often some accompanying sign of hormonal imbalance such as excessive facial or body hair. Correcting the imbalance usually corrects the condition.
In some cases, pregnancy or discontinuation of contraceptive pills can trigger hair loss. The same effect can be wrought by a sudden physical or psychological stress to the body. These types of hair loss come under the heading of Telogen Effluvium and are usually temporary. Once corrected it can take up to eight to ten months for complete recovery. Contrary to popular belief, shampooing does not cause hair loss nor do many types of salon treatments.
Clinical treatment for hair loss in women typically starts with Rogain which is the only FDA-approved medication available for female pattern baldness. Propecia, another well known drug for hair loss, does not work on women at all. If baldness starts before fhe menopause, Aldactone may work but it takes many months for the hair to grow back. After the menopause, the combination of a hormone replacement pill called Prempro and Aldactone may work.
Cosmetically, experienced hair transplant surgeons can work wonders with follicular unit and mini-graft techniques. However, there are other options which are available at salons and may be worth a try; these include perming and dyeing for a fuller appearance. In fact, most salons now offer some form of hair addition and can help simulate a natural appearance. Find a skilled specialist and discuss your options.
Mac Morris is the founder of Hair Loss Heaven - http://www.hairlossheaven.com - a web site providing information and support for anyone concerned about hair loss.